Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a selection of answers to questions that are often asked about Steiner Education. If you have a question that is not answered here then please do contact us.
When do pupils begin formal learning?
How do we know that pupils are making progress?
How do pupils succeed academically?
What is a Main Lesson?
What part do festivals play?
What is eurythmy?
What place does sport have in the curriculum?
What do our schools recommend about television viewing and IT?
Computers are generally used by students at secondary age and not earlier. They very quickly master the necessary ICT skills and many go on to successful careers in the computer, film and TV industries.
Who was Steiner and what is anthroposophy?
Our approach to education is based on Steiner’s educational insights, specifically those that relate to child development. These form one aspect of what Steiner called ‘anthroposophy’, literally, ‘human wisdom’, or ‘knowledge of the human being’ . These ideas are contained in Steiner’s approximately 4,000 lectures and some 50 written works. Many of these can be accessed on line at the Rudolf Steiner archive at www.rsarchive.org.
Anthroposophy is a developing body of research and not a belief system, indeed Steiner was at pains to make sure that people scrutinized his ideas and put them to the test; he did not want them simply to be adopted or ‘believed’, but he did invite people to engage with them. In his lectures on education he gave many indications for suitable subject matter and approaches to teaching for different ages but always stressed that teachers must be free to interpret these indications in their own way.
Steiner schools do not teach anthroposophy, indeed some would argue that it cannot be taught in any conventional sense. Our schools endeavour to work ‘out of anthroposophy’. The implications of this can best be understood by reading the Principles and Aspirations of the European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education, of which SWSF is a member: www.ecswe.org.
These principles are prefaced by the statement:
“Steiner Waldorf educators study and research aspects of anthroposphy in order to inform and develop their work within the schools and places of learning. The philosophical and methodological approaches that underlie anthroposophy are regarded as tools for personal and profession al development; they are not taught within the school, either as a subject or a belief.”
This guide to Steiner’s work, produced to commemorate the 150th anniversary of his birth, provides a useful introduction to his life, times and activities: www.vernissage-online.eu/epaper/steiner_2011_E/index.html#/10.
Do Steiner's views on race influence the education?
Research conducted in Germany (download the pdf paper on the ECSWE website here) shows that Steiner education is successful in producing young people who are generally more tolerant and less xenophobic than their peers educated in other school systems.
Steiner Education is opposed to all forms of discrimination against any person or group of people on the grounds of race, gender, faith, disability, age and sexual orientation and is committed to promoting equality of opportunity and reflecting the diversity of the children, staff and parents served by Steiner schools. The education thrives on every continent, in every culture and within a wide range of ethnic contexts.
What provision is made for pupils with different learning needs?
How do children adjust when they transfer to one of our schools?
How is the children's behaviour managed?
Children learn best when they feel secure and when they know what to expect. A warm, well structured environment gives them essential support in finding out about the world and themselves in an age-appropriate fashion.
In addition all our schools have anti-bullying policies in place and take bullying very seriously. If parents feel that bullying is not being addressed or the school is failing in its statutory and moral requirements we would recommend that parents use the appropriate channels to complain and hold the school to account.